On just a miserable night on the streets as the first messy snow fall of the season covered the city the playoffs were set to commence. After a half hour delay getting everyone needed to begin in the building the action commenced and boy were we treated to some serious playoff action. The night was filled with shock, intensity and for some disappointment. Its only game one but if this is a sign of things to come the next six weeks will be just unbelievable. We had an upset, favourites come through and nail bitters down do the dying minutes. The barn was packed and at times it was difficult to find a prime spot to watch the action from. This is what top notch Ball Hockey is all about and if you missed it you will probably hear about it from somebody.
The first and probably most anticipated matchup on the docket was the Mississauga Hawks vs. Vaughan Red Wings. A highly touted Hawk team that many experts have pegged to reach the final two were given a reality check by the new comers. If this game was listed on Proline one observer stated that the VRW would have been paying $6.00 for a win while the Hawks were listed at $1.10 to gain the W. As in any sport once the ball is dropped anything can happen. The Hawks living up to the expectations held the young VRW pinned in the defensive zone and opened the scoring as Chris Chapman scored a PP goal midway through the first. Jon Pulicicchio would pull the Wings even at the end of one. The second period was dominated by the Wings and they would put two by Pellicori in the Hawks net on route to a 4-1 victory. Doing the damage for the Wings were Mike Polesel with a pair and Adrian Perpetua with the game winner. In the dying seconds in what may be a series changer the VRW lost starting goaltender Anthony Ferrante to a five minute major and a game misconduct forcing coach Pino Panza into a back up keeper for the all important game two in this best of three series.
The series ends if - VRW can stay out of the box, keep the Hawks scorers at bay
The series goes three if - Hawks score early and often as well Giffin and Tremblett must dominate
Momentum Shifter - Losing your starting goalie for game two
The Toronto Polar Bears knew the deck has been stacked against them all year. Playing with a depleted lineup for most of the year it took the last game of the year for the Bears to sneak into the playoffs. With the Brampton Express you know they can score so you’re going to have to match them goal for goal and hope for a break. In what turned into an emotional game quickly tempers boiled over before the first had come to an end. The Bears with a late PP failed to score and then the Expressed answered on a PP of their own as Mike Porter scores to give his side a lead. In the second Porter with his second and Irving with a PP goal would triple the Express lead to 3-0 and the Bears couldn’t mount a come back. The Bears now enter a do or die with their backs against the wall.
The series ends if - the Bears don’t stay out of the penalty box
The series goes three if - the Bears can score first and frustrate the Express snipers
Momentum Shifter - Nelson Soares being the Power Forward we know he can be
The Vaughan Jets opened the eyes of the Toronto Thunder last night as the Thunder needed a late goal to escape with a 3-2 opening night victory. A pair of goals scored by Thunder Captain Danny Filice who has had a quiet season by his standards came out to play when it meant the most. Matt Hebbes opened the scoring and the Thunder was in the lead. Dwayne Pallotta started in the Vaughan Jets goal and stoned the Thunder shooters as he kept the Jets in this game to the bitter end. The Jets showed a lot of heart and desire and game two looks to be a tug of war as the first to budge will give the other momentum. Who gets the start in the Jets goal for game two? Can the Thunder flex their might and eliminate the Jets or are we in store for another shocker. Goaltending will be the deciding factor in game two.
The series ends if - the Thunder can kick start their offence
The series goes three if - the Mignosa’s three get hot
Momentum Shifter - the Jets PP comes out huge in game two
Just like I predicted this series will be a low scoring one goal games. What a game we were treated to in the night cap of the evening. A back and forth battle lead to numerous big saves from both sides as Flegel and Flores both played their part in keeping this game scoreless. A disallowed goal for the ball being directed into the goal off a foot would have seen the Metro Orangemen jump out to a 1-0 lead but that’s as close as they would get to beating Flores on this night. A goal off a mad scramble with three minutes left by Raidel Cabazes gave St. Michael’s a 1-0 lead. The Orangemen with a late minute flurry with the goalie pulled thought they had tied the game as well as many of the fans as Ricardo Pires was robbed by Anthony Flores. Game two looks to be another low scoring affair. Can the Orangemen break Flores shut out streak in game two they will need to if the series is to extend.
The series ends if - St. Mike’s stays out of box and scores early
The series goes three - if the Orangemen can score two goals
Momentum Shifter - first goal in game two should win the game and possibly the series
QF Game 1 Top Goaltenders
1. Anthony Flores (St. Mike’s) - shuts out Orangemen
2. Dwayne Pallotta (Jets) - plays large in a losing cause
3. Craig Flegel (Orangemen) - shut out hockey for 27 minutes in a losing cause
QF Game 1 Top Performers
1. Danny Filice (Thunder) - two goals in a 3-2 win
2. Raidel Cabazes (St. Mike’s) - lone marker in a 1-0 victory
3. Mike Porter (Express) - two goals in a 3-0 victory